Thank the media gods that Boston is a two-daily town. The Boston Herald reported that one million New England Patriots fans lined the Super Bowl victory Duck Boat parade on Tuesday (Jan.7, 2017). The Boston Globe reported there were tens of thousands, which was physically more accurate, even if tens of thousands could mean anything upwards from 20,000. Usually, both papers report one million at big-time public celebrations, as the July 4 Boston Pops concerts. They ignore the fact that Boston’s population is 670,000, and one million (if you can picture it in your mind) would be about 12 Patriots’ Gillette Stadiums full.
Mathematics have never been a strong point among reporters. And when organizers of events throw out huge numbers, reporters turn stenographers and forget the first law of reporting: “Think your mother loves you? Check it out.” The Herald’s million figure is an example: The parade route was about 3 miles. If one millions fans packed the route, standing shoulder to shoulder, they would have to stand 70 deep in each foot of the way. They didn’t.
I’ll admit, the parade route was packed, despite the cold, snow, sleet and rain. And although President Trump would argue, there were far more people cheering along the route than there were at his inauguration.